DALLAS, Texas — The campaign of Senate District 10 (SD 10) conservative front runner Konni Burton called out Democratic opponent Libby Willis for taking $500,000 from special interest personal injury trial lawyers in an ad on the final days of the state senate race. Outlets like the Texas Tribune and Quorum Report balked at the ad but this is exactly what Willis did.
Willis also received a $350,000 contribution from the Mostyn Law Firm. Founder Steve Mostyn is a Houston-based trial attorney whose firm has contributed generously to Democratic causes including the Wendy Davis campaign, Harris County Democratic Elected Officials PAC, and the Texas Victory Committee, Inc., a joint project of Wendy R. Davis for Governor and Battleground Texas the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
The $500,000 campaign donation to Willis was from the Back to Basics PAC, mainly funded by Mostyn, during the reported July 1 to Sept. 25 period, also according to the Star-Telegram.
Of the $2 million the mega donor Mostyns contributed to Democratic candidates and causes, the $500,000 contribution made Willis the largest individual recipient of their money. The intention was to equip her with “a fundraising lead in the campaign’s final month, ” the Houston Chronicle reported.
That fundraising edge, however, has gone instead to Burton in the final month with more than $1.5 million in contributions versus Willis who added only $1 million since the end of September, according to the Texas Ethics Commission. Burton has significant cash on hand: $214,000. Willis lags with $92,000.
Burton, a Colleyville resident, is a longtime grassroots activist and Tea Party favorite. She is the candidate running to take the district seat back for the Republicans. It was abandoned by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) in her quest to run for governor against the heavily favored Republican candidate Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
Willis admitted to the Texas Observer that SD 10 is a Republican-leaning district and her chances of winning are a long shot, but Battleground Texas and high profile Democratic candidates have rallied around her to get people out to vote for her.
Other liberals have lined up to contribute to Willis. They include $230,000 from Annie’s List and $10,000 from the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in Washington, D.C., also according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article on October 28.
Battleground Texas has donated to Willis in two ways, listing a total June 30 donation for $6,545 and $16,785 of in-kind staff support contributions the news outlet noted.
The Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA) PAC gave the Willis campaign $5,000. TSTA is an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers union in the United States and they support the controversial Common Core standards.
The October 11 Star-Telegram article also included among Willis contributions $10,000 from Fort Worth real estate developer Flora Brewer and nearly $2,000 of in-kind phone banking contributions from U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey’s Congressional Campaign Committee. Planned Parenthood endorsed Willis.
Burton, who better reflects the conservative values of a district, easily beat more middle-of-the-road GOP opponent, former state representative Mark Shelton, during the May runoff.
Senate District 10 includes Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield, Colleyville, and other areas of south and northeast Tarrant County.
Burton’s conservative donors have included $100,000 from W.E. Bosarge Jr. of Houston; $100,000 from Tim Dunn, president of CrownQuest in Midland, and more than $745,000 from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC, according to the most recent reports filed with the Texas Ethics Commission.
The Star Telegram also showed that Burton’s campaign received $20,000 from Empower Texans PAC; $2,500 from the Good Government Fund, run by the Bass family; $300 from Rafael Cruz, father of US Sen. Ted Cruz, who endorsed her in this race; $5,000 from Monty Bennett, a Dallas hotelier suing the Tarrant Regional Water District; about $80,000 in direct and in-kind donations from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC; and $10,000 from Alice Walton, daughter of the late founder of the Wal-Mart retail chain.
More than half a dozen lawmakers, including Republican state Sens. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills and Jane Nelson of Flower Mound contributed to Burton’s campaign, they noted.
The Texas Observer’s Can Battleground Texas Save Wendy Davis’ Senate Seat? depicts the mission of Battleground Texas as a numbers game. It is to get as many Democratic voters to the voting booth. “That’s all there is to it,” Willis said.
The article also highlighted Battleground Texas as a “group started by former Obama campaign staffers” working on turning Texas purple followed by blue.
Dallas Liberty Center volunteer and grassroots activist Ken Emanuelson recently addressed the significance of Battleground Texas and their intention to transform Texas into a Democratic state, first on a city level, then a county level followed by statewide.
He told Breitbart Texas, “Texas is the largest red state in the nation. If Texas ever turns Democrat blue, no Republican presidential candidate can hope to win. It’s numerically impossible.”
The aim of Battleground Texas’ Blue Star Project is “to focus the group’s technical expertise and organizing ability on legislative races, with the help of a ‘coordinated field program and a full arsenal of data, digital, and communications expertise'” as the method they hope to swing the election, the Observer article stated.
Big government libs like Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) vying for the Lt. Governor spot, are out stumping for Willis in Fort Worth, pushing “supporters to help get people to the polls,” the Star-Telegram reported on October 28.
“We all need every single vote,” Van de Putte said at the recent Tarrant County Democratic Party headquarters for a get-out-the-vote-rally.
“Don’t believe what they are telling you. This one is going to be close, Van de Putte predicted to Democrats.
Burton still leads in the polls but, no doubt, the Willis camp is working overtime to catch up.
SD 10 may be the most important race in the state. If Burton takes the district from the Democrats, it brings the state legislature one step closer to a Republican majority and farther from Battleground Texas’ vision of a one-party, the Democratic party, nation.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.